At a June 16 press conference, Florida’s Ron DeSantis became the first governor to answer the plea for help from fellow Republican governors—Doug Ducey of Arizona and Greg Abbott of Texas—by authorizing the deployment of law enforcement resources to help secure the border.
“It’s undeniable that the border crisis is out of control,” Christina Pushaw, press secretary to DeSantis told The Epoch Times. “Helping our fellow Americans in their moment of need is always the right thing to do. The governors of other states have sent resources to Florida in the past to help respond to natural disasters. With the federal government unable or unwilling to enforce our laws and secure our border, Florida is ready to step up to the plate and do our part.”
Time to Return the Favor
“Florida is stepping up to the plate,” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey declared to The Epoch Times, saying, “Texas and Arizona, you’ve got a storm, and we’re coming to help you.”
“When the state of Florida has a storm that devastates an area, law enforcement resources from across the country respond and come to our rescue,” Ivey explained. “The concept of responding to the needs of a state in the aftermath of a storm is no different than responding to the needs of another state in the midst of a border crisis.”
It’s a sentiment shared by other Florida sheriffs.
“When the governor called Wednesday and expressed his concerns about our southern border, I immediately offered whatever resources we could spare for this endeavor,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden told The Epoch Times. “After all, these states have answered the call for us with hurricane relief and other emergencies, so it’s only fair that we return the effort when they call for help.”
“It’s doing the right thing,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told The Epoch Times. “Inevitably, whenever we have an emergency or a hurricane that comes through here, the governors of Texas and Arizona send us anything that we need.”
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford told The Epoch Times he also sees the cry for help from the governors of Texas and Arizona to secure the border as an opportunity to repay the debt he owes after hurricane Michael devastated Bay County and many sheriffs from other states came to their aid.
“So we’re going to volunteer to be the first ones there to help,” Ford said.
Securing the Border
“Securing the border helps Floridians,” Pushaw explained. “Even though Florida isn’t a border state, securing the southern border would help stop the flow of narcotics that end up in our state and ravage our communities. Illegal immigrants have also committed crimes in Florida, which could have been prevented if our immigration laws were enforced.”
As Marceno told The Epoch Times, fentanyl cases have gone up 230 percent in Lee County over the past six months and there has been a 3,000 percent increase in the number of sexual predators coming across U.S. borders.
“We’re not going to allow it,” Marceno asserted. “Florida’s residents are going to be safe and secure.”
“It’s something I think is missed sometimes in the talking points of this issue of a safe and secure border,” Ford observed. “It’s not just the individuals that may be coming across the border but the dangerous products they bring with them.”
According to Ford, Bay County has also been flooded with amphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin over the past six months.
While they would typically “high five” the seizure of a half-pound of meth, Ford said it’s now not uncommon to intercept five to six pounds, even upward of 10 to 12 pounds. There have also been 150 drug overdoses in Bay County since January, with 15 of them being fatal, all of which he attributes to the fentanyl coming across the border.
Proud of DeSantis
“This is exactly what leadership, crisis management, and commitment to law and order looks like” Ivey attested. “The guy’s got it going on. He’s not afraid to stand on the ledge and make decisions. He understands, like I do, that the government’s one and only responsibility is to protect its citizens, and he has taken an oath to protect his citizens, his cops, and his Constitution.”
“The governor is the true definition of an amazing leader,” Marceno explained, citing the extremely difficult decisions DeSantis made in the midst of the pandemic. “That is the reason why 904 people a day move to our state, for law enforcement and safety. He is a phenomenal leader. He’s an amazing man to work with. The communication is constant and I am very proud to say he’s our governor in the state of Florida.”
“I think it’s very important that we heed those calls because we were in a time of great need two years ago,” Ford stated. “I just remember that feeling of having the cavalry roll in to assist, not asking any questions like who’s going to pay for it but just being available. I know the burden they’re carrying on the border.”
“The situation at the border is more than a crisis and one that must be dealt with immediately,” Aden asserted. “It’s a matter of national security. But if the federal government cannot or will not gain control, then states like Florida will come to the aid of our fellow states pleading for help.”
Despite the overwhelming support DeSantis has received from Florida’s law enforcement, some Democrats have criticized the move by DeSantis.
Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), one of two Democrat declared candidates to run for the position of governor in 2022, called the decision to send Florida law enforcement to the border a “political stunt.” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the second declared Democrat candidate for governor, wrote on Twitter: “Florida’s current governor just makes controversies up to get on Fox News.”
Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani wrote: “Another political stunt by @GovRonDeSantis—instead of perpetuating the attacks on immigrants & going after Biden Administration why don’t you focus on the people who live in FL!”
“These are real issues that affect Floridians’ everyday lives, and it’s wrong to dismiss the Governor’s attempt to address these issues as a mere ‘political stunt,’” Pushaw insisted. “Those who criticize Gov. DeSantis’ decision are the ones engaging in political grandstanding at Floridians’ expense.”
Follow Patricia Tolson on Twitter at @PTolson1